Thursday, March 18, 2010

Latin Week 9

Last week in Latin we made a lot of food and finished in the allotted time. Only wish the group would learn how to clean and stop screwing around. We finished at 9:00 and didn't get out until 10:45...I hope some of them who are there to receive their diplomas; get some discipline before getting a job in the real world.

Our menu for this week consisted of the lower Antilles...Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Trinidad, etc...
We made pepper pot soup, yuca mufongo with cilantro aioli sauce (we made mufongo with plantains instead), camarones sofrito (shrimp in red sofrito), salad of hearts of palm with passion fruit vinaigrette, Sorullos de maiz, guava fool, and corn pudding.

Let me start by saying this week's food was awesome! I made the Pepper pot Soup and the Hearts of Palm Salad; with passion fruit vinaigrette. The pepper pot soup is a mixture of greens, simmered meats, shrimp, scotch bonnet pepper, root vegetables, boniato, taro root, okra and coconut milk. Chef said the taste, color and texture were perfect. I should have used a different garnish instead of the chives...obviously this one slipped past me with green on green. Our salad was great; the vinaigrette according to chef tasted great and it was very refreshing. I should have cut the cherry tomatoes in half and cut the hearts on the bias. Other than the fore mentioned; the salad was great...a good mix of red onion, hearts of palm, tomatoes, red bell and green bell pepper.

The mufongo was made by Maria and it contained pork rinds, plantain chips, fresh garlic cloves, was AWESOME! We filled the mufongo with Loida's Camarones Sofrito. We made the red sofrito instead of the green and it turned out great. Chef said the shrimp were perfectly cooked, the sofrito tasted great and the mix with the mufongo was great! In fact chef had us bring around our mufongo for everyone to try...

Henry made the sorullos de maiz from Puerto Rico. They are made with fine corn meal, water and salt...then you fill them with queso fresco. WOW! Maria made a dip that was basically mayo, ketchup and lime juice...what a perfect compliment. Mike made the guava fool and corn pudding...chef thought both deserts were great and I thought the same. Guava Fool is basically guava puree (confectioners sugar and softened guava) strained and chilled. Then you fold the puree into whipped heavy cream; garnish with mint leaves and almonds if you wish. The corn pudding is a can of creamed corn, milk, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and coconut milk. You blend the corn, coconut and half the milk; pass through a strainer and add the rest of the milk. Then you add sugar, vanilla bean and boil. Reduce the mixture to a simmer add the cinnamon; dissolve the cornstarch to make a slurry and add to the mix. Once the pudding is thickened, turn off the heat and remove vanilla bean. Pour the pudding into individual cups and dust with ground cinnamon.

Overall it was an awesome week...we finished on time and we made awesome food! This week is our practical final...look for my pictures on this awesome dish!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baking week 9

This week in baking we made Challah Bread, peanut butter cookies, and cinnamon rolls...

We used the straight dough method for the challah, a series of creaming and straight dough with the cinnamon rolls, and of course the creaming method with the peanut butter cookies. Our peanut butter cookies had great flavor, size, color and texture. Our Challah needed to be a little shorter, but overall the color, taste, texture and braiding were all good. Our cinnamon rolls were a good size and the flavor was great. However I had to add a little flour to the dough when rolling out because it was a little too wet. It was a good night for us and we finished pretty quickly.

I noticed a lot of teams were busy spending a lot of time fermenting their doughs and not starting on the next project. Next week I expect us to be one of the first groups to finish and have all of our products ready to go by 9pm. We made a good team this semester in baking; and I look forward to the second round of baking pastry in a couple of semesters from now. Please take a look at the pictures below and I hope you all like what we made. I am excited to make the cinnamon rolls one of these mornings... :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Latin week 8

This week was the Greater Antilles...we made food from Cuba and Jamaica. We made black bean soup, avocado and pineapple salad, Jamaican run down, jerk chicken, steamed callaloo pastries with ackee butter sauce.

The black soup turned out awesome...just like how my step family makes it at home. Henry started out with beans that simmered with green pepper. He then added oil, hocks, sliced onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook everything until tender/soft; then added tomato paste, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Wait until the liquid thickens then remove the meat from the bones. Finish off the soup with a small amount of diced onions, olive oil, cilantro and vinegar. Chef said it was the best of the night and the closest to the real thing...

Our avocado and pineapple salad was a little bland but the color was good. The only thing we needed to try and do was refrain from using the black The dressing consists of mayonnaise, lime juice, dijon mustard, honey, sour cream and salt. The salad includes avocados, red cabbage, green cabbage, carrot and diced pineapple.

The Jamaican Run Down was good, but we could've used a little more seasoning as well. Chef said the color was good, the spice was good but the salt was lacking. I think we are trying to adhere to the new law trying to be based in New York which will fine restaurants that use salt in their food. The rundown is a coconut milk sauce that the fish is cooked in...the sauce consists of coconut milk, onion, garlic, scotch bonnet, ripe tomatoes, cider vinegar, dried thyme, salt and pepper. The fish is marinated in lime juice and then cooked in the sauce until the fish is flaky.

The jerk chicken was GREAT! Chef was more impressed with the color of another student's chicken but mine was the only moist piece of chicken. I know what I was missing now and I will eliminate the turmeric next time. The chicken should have also been marinated for a long period of time and it wasn't. The marinade/adobo consisted of coriander, ginger, red pepper flakes, turmeric, dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne, black pepper, salt, paprika and sugar. You take this mixture add fresh thyme, olive oil and vinegar; then cover and marinate. Place on grill for marks and then finish in the oven. Serve with the pineapple avocado salad...

Loida made the callaloo pastries; even though they took a long time for her to make, I thought they tasted great. Chef like the pastries and the sauce but we could've finished earlier. The pastries had garlic, onion, scotch bonnet, thyme, callaloo and tomato. It was then mixed in with cheese and filled in phyllo dough sheets. These are then baked in the oven at 350 degrees seam side down. The sauce consisted of ackee, bay leaf, white wine, heavy cream, peppercorns, clarified butter, salt and pepper. Overall the sauce tasted like Hollandaise with was actually really good.

The banana fritters were made by Mike; and they were made into binnets. They consisted of flour, baking powder, salt, ripe bananas, lime juice, egg, sugar and oil to fry. Maria made the Coco Quemado and it's listed as pudding; but I realized after chef said it...that they are really Cuban coconut macaroons! These Cuban cookies, pudding etc...consist of sugar and water melted and then added grated coconut, egg yolks, cinnamon and dry sherry.

Overall the night was a success but we definitely need to work a lot faster!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dinner Tonight

I am going to make something I am going to call "Pez de Volcan"...

I am going to make the isreali couscous with quinoa; sauteed onions and mushrooms. The other side will be steamed asparagus. The fish I will pan sear and top with a guajillo pepper sauce...almost like molten lava...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Baking Someone Else's Dough...

This week in baking we made some awesome goodies!

We made apple-raisin bread pudding; Pain Au Levain (San Francsico Sourdough); Chocolate Brownies and Brioche (from someone else's dough). Chef thought all of our goodies tasted great and no flaws in the production. However our Brioche was dry, taste was off and no color. We did get a reprieve for using someone else's dough. Since you have to let Brioche dough ferment in the fridge we could not use our dough for class; instead we used someone else's dough. This cut out a lot of time but it was GROSS! I feel bad for the person who made the dough because he/she will never know what their dough will taste like; and perhaps they will think it was perfect. Who knows our dough could end up like a hockey puck as Whatever the case may be we learned the process of making brioche and now we can do it on our own.

To make the bread pudding you have to make a custard creaming the yolks and sugar with a paddle. Then you incorporate toasted bread, sauteed raisins, apples, cinnamon/sugar, etc. along with cream. This turned out great and I will make more of these at home. Our chocolate brownies were great and we couldn't eat them because they were for graduation. Our sourdough had the right consistency but it wasn't sour enough. That is dough to the starter we used didn't ferment long enough. Overall we flew through this class and we made great food. The Sourdough used the sponge method and of course we blasted it with moisture to give it a crust...

Can't wait to make bread pudding for St. Patty's day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Peru, Colombia and Venezuela


This week we made arepas, ceviche, quinoa chowder, Pabellon Criollo, tostones, chifles, avocado cream and Tapioca with chocolate couscous. Mike made two different arepas; arepas con queso and arepas dulces. The arepas con queso are made with arepa flour, hot water and salt for the dough; then you incorporate one egg yolk, softened butter and shredded mozzarella. There are many ways to cook these yummy pastries. You can either pan fry them, deep fry them or bake them. We took the fatty route and deep fried these cheesy pouches. The sweet arepas are made with arepa flour, salt, brown sugar, ground anise and mozzarella cheese shredded. You make the dough and then add the anise with the cheese. Shape into disks and fry baby fry! These arepas were very good...and chef said they turned out great.

The ceviche was made by me and the plating was spot on. You can see the picture below...I used a chifle; (which is a thin sliced plantain fried) and made a ring. I then stuffed it with ceviche; lined it with roccotto paste and sweet potatoes. The traditional way to eat ceviche is with boiled sweet potatoes. I boiled this sweet potato in the fume I poached the seafood in; after poaching the seafood in the fume I placed them in ice water and then transfered to a bowl. In the same bowl I fine diced concassed tomato, onion, serrano pepper, habanero pepper, green pepper, cilantro, parsley, salt, lemon juice and lime juice. This was all placed in the fridge to chill and the chifles/tostones were made in the interim. I used the deli slicer to make thin slices of plantains; I then made a plate out of chifles and Loida made tostones. The remaining chifles I cut out shapes for plating and used them in all of our dishes.

The quinoa chowder was a special starts with clean quinoa. You then saute onion, garlic paste, cumin, paprika and red pepper. Add water to the saute and cook the quinoa, potatoes, until potatoes are tender. You then add milk, corn, peas, cheese, eggs and cook. You don't want the soup to get too thick so you have to add some stock to counter the stiffness. Serve with avocado and cilantro for garnish. This soup was ok...chef said it had good flavor but we needed to use less salt and not so thick.

Loida made the Pabellon Criollo or Venezuelan Shredded Beef...its braised/slow cooked flank steak. This beef is seasoned with annatto, chopped onions, garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes, salt and black pepper. The tomatoes are cooked until a sauce is formed and if the beef starts to get dry just add a little more stock to the meat. The dish was served on top of the chifle plate I made and a few sticks of plantain shaped into flames. Chef thought it was way too salty and needed less salt, but overall a very good job and incredible planning.

Avocado cream was made by mike who did I think a great job to hide the taste of the avocado. It is made with pitted mashed avocados; with confectioners sugar, lemon juice and folded whipped cream. This is very easy to make and refrigerated; then topped with crystallized ginger and whipped cream. Chef thought ours tasted good but needed to be lighter.

Maria took the attempt to make the tapioca with chocolate and did a great job. Unsweetened coconut milk, milk, sugar, salt, coconut grated and tapioca. It's got a weird texture but the flavor is great! Take a look at our pictures below...

Scavenger Hunt: "Colombian cuisine consists largely of chicken, pork, potato, rice, beans and soup. Interesting regional dishes include: ajiaco (soup made with chicken and potato which is a Bogotano speciality); hormiga culona (a sophisticated dish, unique to Santander, consisting largely of fried ants); and lechona (whole suckling pig, spit-roasted and stuffed with rice, which is a speciality of Tolima). The variety of fruit is astounding, the coffee and beer more than adequate and the wine execrable." (Reference:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins, Multigrain Bread, etc...

This week in Baking we made the following...morning glory muffins, multi-grain rolls, almond pound cake, raisin scones and apple pie.

We worked really fast and efficiently this week; we got started with making the scone batter/dough and the multi-grain sponge dough. The scones are made using the biscuit method and is in fact rolled/folded the same way. After making the dough you place it in some plastic wrap and chill in order to cut easily. The multi-grain bread is a process but worth must first make the sponge dough before going further. With the yeast and water, mix in 1/3 of the flour and ferment until doubled in size. After fermenting combine all of the remaining ingredients, bulgar wheat, oats, wheat flour, the sponge dough, molasses, honey, salt, etc. Canola oil is used instead of butter and everything is mixed in together as the straight dough method. You ferment this dough until doubled in size and then roll into shapes. After the shapes are made then you place the dough back in to proof and double in size. Egg wash the rolls and top with sesame seeds then bake until golden brown. Chef said our rolls were perfect...great color, taste, texture and moisture. In fact they were confiscated for the

Morning glory muffins are really good but we needed to make sure we didn't fill the cups too much. Also we needed to cook them longer some turned out a little raw. So we placed them back in but some of them then stuck to the cups. The morning glory muffins are made using the muffin method and consist of fruit and veggies. Carrots, apples, raisins, and coconut are inside of these muffins and are very tasty. Chef said our muffins were great; no tunneling, great flavor, texture and color.

Our almond pound cake was made using the creaming method and a lot of patience. The cake takes a little while adding one egg at a time and incorporating the milk a little at a time. Our cakes were great in color, texture, taste and moisture; according to chef. We finishes everything so quickly we were able to make Apple Pies. Chef gave us the recipe and we used some of the pie shells we made the week before. The bottom shell was the mealy crust and the top was the flaky crust. We filled the pie with thinly sliced/peeled apples, cinnamon, sugar, salt and closed it up. We baked them for about an our or until the apples were tender. We did not get to eat our pie because it was so hot when we left, but I'm sure it was good! The scones were great; chef said they had great, color, texture and the taste was spot on. The only thing we really kind of rushed out of the oven were the muffins, but they still turned out really well.

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